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Lashing Out

4th November 2016

Reflecting on the recent US Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Catherine looks at the links between problem or pathological gambling and domestic violence.

The US recently took part in a nationwide Domestic Violence Awareness Month. An awareness event, whether a day, a week or a month, is brilliant for bringing a tough subject into public consciousness, but it’s truly important to continue the conversation going forward if you’re looking for sustainable change.

If we want to help women, men and children who are suffering abuse within their relationship or home, we need to keep talking about the issue.

Here in the UK, recent research from the University of Lincoln has shown that there is a statistically significant link between problem or pathological gambling and violence demonstrated by men. The worse the addiction, the more likely it was that they were to have engaged in violent behaviour in the previous five years.

According to Science Daily: “The study... found that pathological and problem gamblers are more likely to have hit a child... Those with likely pathological gambling problems also had increased odds of committing violent behaviour against a partner.”

This study focussed just on men, but we know that’s not the full picture.

If you have ever found yourself strung out by your gambling behaviour or you have been in a violent situation because someone close to you has become preoccupied with gambling, know that help is available and that this doesn't need to continue.

First off, if you feel you or others in the household are in immediate danger, contact the emergency services or get yourself to a refuge. The National Domestic Violence Helpline can advise on finding a refuge close to you and the team is available 24 hours a day.

Problem gambling can affect the whole family. That’s why GamCare offers support for anyone affected by problem gambling – we can support the gambler to understand their behaviour better so that they can make positive changes, and we can support family members who need help to look after their own wellbeing too. You can find out more about our counselling services here.

The National Gambling HelpLine is free to contact and is available over the phone or via web chat from 8am – Midnight, seven days a week. Our Advisers can talk through your situation and help you to find the information and support you need. There really is no need to suffer in silence.

Find out more about the impacts problem gambling can have on relationships and family here.